The Airports, Airlines Most Prone to Holiday Delays: Stats

Wondering which airports are most likely to get you to your destination and back home on time—or, more importantly, which are most likely to cause delays? To determine the best and worst airports for holiday travel, Upgraded Points has released its latest report for travelers on where they can expect serious holiday flight delays. Using industry data, the analysis offers a glimpse of flight delay trends at major U.S. airports and airlines during the winter holiday period.

Flying out of one of the following airports? They historically see the highest percentage of departure delays:

  1. El Paso International Airport (ELP) - 32.78 percent
  2. Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) - 30.67 percent
  3. Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ) - 30.56 percent
  4. San Antonio International Airport (SAT) - 30.33 percent
  5. Houston William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) - 30.22 percent

If you're landing in one of the following airports, you're most likely to be delayed upon arrival:

  1. Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) - 30.67 percent
  2. Dallas Love Field (DAL) - 30.22 percent
  3. Denver International Airport (DEN) - 29.44 percent
  4. William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) – 29.44 percent
  5. Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) - 29.33 percent

The top five airlines with the most delayed departures include:

  1. Frontier Airlines: 31.9 percent
  2. Southwest Airlines: 31.8 percent
  3. JetBlue: 30.8 percent
  4. Allegiant Air: 29.2 percent
  5. Spirit Airlines: 28.1 percent

Airports With the Fewest Delayed Arrivals and Departures

Lihue Airport (LIH) in Kauai, HI tops the charts, boasting the lowest delay rate for both departures (16.78 percent) and arrivals (17.33 percent). It's one of four airports in Hawaii to make the top 10 least delayed departures or arrivals. On the mainland, Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT) has the second-lowest delay rate when it comes to taking off (17.44 percent), while Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) comes in third with an 18.44 percent delay on arrival.

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) and Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO) in Greensboro, NC come in fifth for the fewest departure (19.44 percent) and arrival (19.22 percent) delays, respectively.

Methodology: To identify the U.S. airports most prone to holiday flight delays, Upgraded Points used on-time performance info from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation. Analyzing data from the past decade (2014 to 2022), the historical approach focused on the percentage of delayed departures and arrivals during the winter holiday season (December 14 to January 5) across the 100 busiest U.S. airports. The study analyzed the 10 largest U.S. airlines, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) providing busy airport data via enplanement figures, and the biggest airlines based on the number of seats as determined by OAG.

Source: Upgraded Points

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